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As one of today’s many modern conveniences, the garbage disposal seems indispensable in the kitchen. The ability to toss food and waste into the sink without risk of clogging the pipes seems like an impossibility only decades ago. However, what do you do if your disposal isn’t working properly? Over time, the blades and the motor can wear down, leaving you with a worthless piece of junk. Calling a technician to come out can also be an expensive proposition, so what are your options? Fortunately, there is a safe and relatively simple way to remove your old garbage disposal and replace it with a brand new one. Here we’ll go through the four basic steps to installing your new piece of hardware so you can get running in no time.
Tools and Equipment
Let’s go over the tools and equipment you will need to get this job done properly. Hopefully, you have all of these components already, but if not, they should be available at any hardware store. You will need:
● Phillips Screwdriver
● Flat-Head Screwdriver
● Socket Set
● Slip-Joint Pliers
● Plumber’s Putty
● Mounting Screws
● Wire Nuts
● One Brand-New Garbage Disposal
Step 1: Removing the Old Disposal
Before working on anything electrical, it’s imperative that you turn off the circuit breaker that coincides with the area in which you’re working. Electrical shock is a nasty bite, so you want to make sure safety comes first.
To remove the old disposal, you must first remove the drain pipe from the unit itself. This should be the only pipe leading from the disposal into the wall (or ground). Use the pliers to loosen the spring clamp holding the pipe, and separate it from the unit. There may be some residual runoff upon removal, so have a towel handy to clean up any messes.
The disposal should be mounted on the sink with a mounting nut. Twist it off and pull the unit down. There may still be some residue and water, so dump any extra stuff out as much as possible. At this point, the disposal will still be connected to the electrical system, so you will need to remove the plate covering all the electrical wiring.
Once the plate has been removed, pull out the wire nuts and grounding screw, which should allow you to remove the power cable from the unit. If your new disposal is the same brand or model as your old disposal, then you shouldn’t have to remove the mounting piece on the sink.
If, however, your new disposal is not compatible with the old mounting nut, you will need to remove this piece as well. Unscrew the mounting ring and push the rubber flange up through the sink. Scrape off any plumber’s putty that is remaining to ensure a clean surface.
Step 2: Install New Mounting Hardware
If you can use the old mounting nut with your new disposal, you can skip this step. First, you will need to place a rubber seal on the underside of the flange. If your new unit doesn’t have a rubber seal, then you’ll have to use plumber’s putty. Once the seal is set, push the flange back down through the drain hole.
After that put another rubber seal around the flange on the underside of the sink. Then attach the metal backup ring, flat side up. Your new disposal unit should come with a mounting ring, but while most are metal, some are plastic. Refer to your owner’s manual for any specific instructions that may be necessary.
Install the mounting ring with three screws to hold it in place. Push it up and secure it with the snap ring. Then screw it in tightly.
Step 3: Prepare the New Disposal
You will need to remove any components from inside the disposal before installing it. Once it has been cleared, remove the electrical plate and pull the wires away from it. Then place the strain relief sleeve into place and screw it tight. Then push the power cable through the sleeve and into the disposal. Tighten the sleeve to keep the cable inside.
Step 4: Install the Garbage Disposal
Connect the electrical wires on the disposal, matching the colors as you go. Use wire nuts to secure the connections. Connect the ground wire to the green screw, and then replace the electrical plate.
Once the electrical systems have been connected correctly, twist the disposal into the mounting nut until it is aligned properly. The unit may be heavy, so it might require a support base or two people to help screw it in.
After the disposal is screwed in, attach the drain pipe and seal it with the spring clasp. Before turning the power on, run water through the disposal to check for any leaks. If there are no leaks, you should be good to go. Turn power back on, and check the disposal for any problems.
During the installation process, check with your owner’s manual to ensure that all electrical components are connected correctly. Also, check to make sure that the seals are watertight, to prevent leaks.